Pubdate: Wed, 27 Sep 2017
Source: Tribune Express (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 2015 La Compagnie d'edition Andre Paquette Inc
Author: Alexia Marsillo


Ontario has announced the province's plan for the distribution of
marijuana, ahead of legalization planned for next spring. Recreational
cannabis will be sold through a chain of specialty stores operated by
the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO).

The plan is to open 150 marijuana stores by the year 2020 and 40
stores by next summer. According to Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MPP
Grant Crack, it has not yet been determined as to where these stores
will be located across the province and what that would mean for the
Prescott-Russell region.

The LCBO will be in charge of these specialty stores, and will also
offer online purchasing of marijuana. The sale price of the products
has not yet been determined by the province and will be discussed at
further consultations between the federal and provincial governments
this fall. Cannabis use will be prohibited in all public places and
will only be acceptable in private residences. This puts a halt on all
entrepreneurial ideas for restaurants or vapor bars and lounges.

"What I could say on that is that we have full intentions to continue
to manage this file through subsidiaries of the LCBO," said Crack.
"There's been no discussion at this time that I am aware of about
broadening this into other retail outlets."

"We have come up with a plan in a responsible manner to start off with
40 stores. We are not going into this full force right at the start,"
said Crack. "We're saying 'Let's try it here, let's open these outlets
first', and provide the resources we feel are necessary to the
different stakeholders, including the police, that are involved and
let's see how those 40 evolve, and then 90 six months later and only
then 150 by 2020." Representatives from the Canadian Association of
Chiefs of Police, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Saskatoon
Police Service all expressed that they also want the federal
government to reconsider allowing residents to grow their own
marijuana plants, because it will be too difficult to control and can
facilitate minors in getting their hands on marijuana.

Crack also expressed uncertainty about the amount of marijuana stores
that will be opened - 150 stores by 2020 - and if that will be enough
to satisfy the needs of the province. "Especially in rural Ontario,
because rural Ontarians deserve the same access, not only to cannabis
but also to alcohol in my opinion, that people in urban areas enjoy,"
he said. The provincial government has not yet bogged down all the
specifics of this marijuana distribution plan and the impact it will
have on the Prescott-Russell area is still to be determined.
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